Through The Fantasy Football Looking Glass: Top 5 Running Backs For 2011

Jeff WahlCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2010

One Hand? Try Harder Next Time.
One Hand? Try Harder Next Time.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The B/R article generating program suggests I write a slide show for this particular subject matter. I disagree.  Slide shows are for idiots with ADD and if you don't have the patience to read a linear article full of words and void of pretty pictures then I'm not the writer you seek.

Jog on.

If subtext is not your forte, then I'll be more explicit: I lost my fantasy pool this year and I write this piece with an undercurrent of bitterness.  I strayed from the path that led me to dominate my league for a decade and wound up a pathetic third place finisher.

I won't make that mistake again.

So, as I prepare for Fantasy Draft Day 2011, I've compiled a preliminary list of my top players by position.  This is by no means definitive and I'm sure I will revise this several times in the upcoming months.

Nonetheless, it never hurts to prepare early. 

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Regardless of the type of league you're in, running backs are the lifeblood of your pool.  This is the position upon which titles are won and dreams are vanquished.  Fail here and your prospects are dim.

1. Adrian Peterson: For the last two years, AP was the consensus No. 2 pick in most drafts.  This year, his fate may remain unchanged as Old Blue Eyes, Arian Foster, is the pick du jour heading in to 2011.

Don't be seduced by the hype, Adrian Peterson is the back you want at No. 1.  He's consistent, healthy (for now) and a workhorse with a nose for the end zone.  He's the closest thing to a guarantee FF can offer.

2. Arian Foster: Move over Ray Rice, there's a new pocket rocket in town.  And this guy actually scores TD's!  With Houston's offense Foster is in line for another big season.  However, he'll no longer catch teams by surprise so hedge your expectations a bit.

3. Chris Johnson: I rode this kid to a title last year.  However, Judge Dread has seen a steep decline this season.  Bad QB play is a major contributor as Young and Collins were brutal, nonetheless, this kind of talent cannot be contained.  He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

4. LeSean McCoy: Another back in the Westbrook/Rice mold, Bones McCoy really came in to his own this year.  His rushing totals are not garish but with 78 grabs and almost 600 receiving yards he's worth his weight in PPR fantasy league gold.

5. Peyton Hillis: I admit that I absolutely did not think that Alstott Jr was anything more than a plug and play option after he took over in Cleveland.  Clearly, I was wrong.  White Lightning is the real deal and with his hammer head running style and ability to catch the ball he should be a valuable member of your FF team.

Best of the rest: Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice, MJD, Rashard Mendenhall, Darren McFadden, Michael Turner and Frank Gore.

Sleeper Alert!!

Jhavid Best: Injuries and a revolving door at QB derailed his rookie season but make no mistake, this kid is the real deal.  On tape it looks like he may be faster than Chris Johnson and unlike Reggie Bush, a similarly styled player, Best is not in love with the razzle dazzle and will put his helmet in to a defenders chest every once in a while.  Top 10 potential after the fourth round.

LeGarrette Blount: The Bucs are a team on the rise and LGB is a big part of that.  His 5.2 ypc translate to almost 1600 yards over the course of a full season as a starter and his style means a copious amount of TD chances.  Get high and smoke this Blount.

Deep Sleeper - Mark Ingram (Alabama): The consensus top RB prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft has all the tools to be at least an above average pro.  Most mocks I've read have Ingram going to the Dolphins which makes a lot sense considering Brown and Williams are not likely to be back next year.  With that Offensive Line, Ingram has Offensive ROY written all over him.

Regardless, who ever drafts this kid will have every intention of starting him.  He offers tremendous value in the middle rounds.

I'll post my top five for each other position in the coming days.  If I feel like it.

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